Dear church,

We know the long story of Israel. This became a people of slavery and of deliverance. Just as Joseph’s story was one of slavery and then God’s providential salvation, so would Israel’s story be the same.

As we read the Bible, we understand it to be the inspired and authoritative Word of God. And so we look to the Bible to learn the character of God. 

God seems to have a deep desire in his heart for his people to be bound together as one people. The story of Joseph is one of reconciliation – of the children of God finding their way back together and overcoming past hurts. It is a story of perseverance in brotherhood. And, of course, it is a story of forgiveness and repentance.

I’m sure God isn’t particularly happy with his church at this moment in time, with all the divisions between brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of those divisions are warranted. Some factions of “Christianity” have strayed from the way of Christ – from salvation by grace alone and by faith alone.  

But some of the divisions between brothers and sisters are petty and small, and it is not good for the church or for the spread of the gospel.

And so I wonder if God sends his people through trials – like the famine or slavery of old – to enable his people to bind back together as one. 

It was one people who ventured into Egypt under the leadership of the patriarch Jacob, shepherded by the favored son, Joseph, and accompanied by God himself. “I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again,” God said.

And so we learn God desires his people to be bound together as one, and God also chooses to reside with his people. He is a God who goes with us. 

God goes down with us into slavery, trial, temptation, persecution, failure. And God brings us up out of it. 

Spend some time today thinking about your own attitude toward the unity of the church or about the trials that you find yourselves in today. Where do you see God going with you in those things. 

“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

Chris

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